Mumbe Mwangangi is a 27-year-old social entrepreneur and women’s rights and education activist from Kitui County, Kenya. Recently selected to join the African Union’s African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme, in April 2022 she started working for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where she will be supporting gender mainstreaming across different projects.
Mumbe is also the co-founder of Twi Vamwe, a community-based organisation in Kitui that creates opportunities for youth to participate in local education and environmental initiatives — including through the use of digital technologies. “I founded this organisation with my friends with the aim of harnessing the demographic dividend and giving other young people the opportunity to have a say and contribute to the development of their community,” she says. With a median age estimated at 19 years, about 80 percent of Kenya’s population is below 35 years.
Mumbe’s latest venture is the app Nyansapo AI, which uses artificial intelligence to help teachers assess the literacy level of learners and tailor their courses. According to Mumbe, “Nyansapo AI is an easy-to-use digital tool which assesses the literacy and numeracy levels of primary school children. Unfortunately, many children attend school every day, yet they are unable to read or solve basic maths required for grades. This affects their transition to secondary school and, later in life, limits their access to better opportunities. This is a pressing issue which needs to be addressed especially in underserved communities.”
“I have always been very passionate about youth, education, gender, and technology — these are the pillars of everything I do,” says the Kenyan entrepreneur, who has an academic background in international development and IT (she holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Information Technology from Maseno University and a Master’s degree in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology).
Tech for good
Mumbe is convinced that technology can bring positive change to communities, help solve social problems, and empower grassroots organisations. “What drew me into the digital sector is its potential to tackle many of the issues thar our communities face. Whether it is in the education, public health, or women’s rights field, digital technologies can help us bring about bottom-up change.”
With this conviction, Mumbe also serves as a mentor to other women seeking to develop apps that address community needs. Through her involvement with Technovation Challenge, she promotes the participation of more women in STEM and supports digital entrepreneurs in their innovation journey.
As for her professional goals, Mumbe has an interest in moving on to the diplomacy and international development field. “But of course, digital for development will remain one of my passions,” she confesses.